Harry Potter in Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese & Mongolian Translation


Chapter 14: Norbert the Norwegian Ridgeback


Simplified Chinese (China)
Nuówēi jǐbèi lóng — Nuòbó
挪威 Nuówēi = 'Norway'.
脊背 jǐbèi = '(ridge)back'.
lóng = 'dragon'.
诺伯 Nuòbó = 'Norbert'.
Norbert — the Norwegian Ridgebacked Dragon
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)
Nuówēi jǐbèi lóng Luóbo
挪威 Nuówēi = 'Norway'.
脊背 jǐbèi = '(ridge)back'.
lóng = 'dragon'.
蘿蔔 Luóbo = 'radish'.
Radish (Norbert) the Norwegian Ridgebacked Dragon
Noruwei doragon no Nōbāto
ノルウェー Noruwei = 'Norway'.
ドラゴン doragon = 'dragon' (English).
no = connecting particle
ノーバート Nōbāto = 'Norbert'.
Norbert the Norwegian Dragon
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Trứng rồng đen trứng = 'egg'.
rồng = 'dragon'.
đen= 'black'.
The Black Dragon's Egg
Mongolian (previous)
Норберт хэмээх Норвэги луу
Norbert khemeekh Norvegi luu
Норберт Norbert = 'Norbert'.
хэмээн khemeen = 'called'.
Норвеги Norvegi = 'Norway'.
луу luu = 'dragon'.
Norway Dragon Called Norbert
Mongolian (new)
Норвегийн бөгтөр луу
Norvegiin bögtör luu
Норвеги Norvegi = 'Norway'. (Genitive form Норвегийн Norvegiin 'of Norway, Norwegian'.)
бөгтөр bögtör = 'stooped, hunchbacked'.
луу luu = 'dragon'.
The Norwegian Hunchbacked Dragon


The Oriental dragon is a magnificent mythical creature of good omen associated with the water. It is nothing like the evil, fire-breathing dragon of the West. Unfortunately, the word 'dragon' is now conventionally used to describe both the Oriental and Occidental dragons.

The Vietnamese translator reportedly baulked at using the word rồng, but eventually compromised by including a note to say that the Western dragon was different from the Vietnamese one (this note can be found at the back of issue no. 6 of the Vietnamese version).

Both Chinese versions use the Chinese word for an (Oriental) dragon, / lóng.

The Mongolian translations use the term for an Oriental dragon, луу luu, which was borrowed from Chinese.

Only the Japanese translator has come up with a different solution. Instead of using the Japanese word for 'dragon', which is ryū, she uses the word ドラゴン doragon, from the English word 'dragon'. Although ドラゴン doragon can also be used for Oriental dragons (Bruce Lee's 'Enter the Dragon' is known in Japanese as 燃えろドラゴン! Moero doragon! 'Burn Dragon!'), this device nevertheless helps to set Harry Potter's dragons apart from the traditional Oriental kind. This solution is less appropriate for Chinese because the Chinese are not as comfortable borrowing words from English.


Not all translators use the term 'ridgeback' in the title. The Japanese translation simply uses ドラゴン doragon, without mentioning that it is a リッジバック rijjibakku 'ridgeback'.

The Chinese translators use the term 脊背 jǐbèi, where can be understood as 'ridge'. However, also means 'spine (of the back)', and 脊背 jǐbèi can also be understood by itself as meaning 'back'. The name could potentially be understood as the 'backed dragon'.

The newer Mongolian translation uses the term бөгтөр bögtör meaning 'stooped, hunchbacked'.


The Taiwanese version gives Norbert the rather humorous name of 蘿蔔 Luóbo, meaning 'Radish'. Luóbo is more likely to be accepted by South Chinese and Taiwanese speakers as people from many of these areas have a habit of mixing up their n's and l's.

The Mainland version renders Norbert's name as 诺伯 Nuòbó, using the correct pronunciation of 'n'. The Mainland translator is clearly copying the Taiwanese version because a proper transliteration according to Mainland standards would reflect the final 't' sound, e.g. 诺伯特 Nuòbótè. In effect, the Mainland translator has only partially corrected the pronunciation but completely lost the humour.

The Japanese uses the standard transliteration ノーバート Nōbāto. The construction Noruwei doragon no Nōbāto is similar to the familiar 熊のプーさん Kuma no Pū-san ('Pooh Bear').

The earlier Mongolian translation transliterates 'Norbert' as Норберт Norbert.

The Vietnamese and newer Mongolian translations omit the name 'Norbert'.

(A summary of this chapter can be found at Harry Potter Facts. Detailed notes on the chapter can be found at Harry Potter Lexicon)

Chapter 13
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